Annals of the DeRosset Family
as compiled from original documents by
Catherine DeRosset Meares
^* N O • r c
Part C: pages 63 to 91
Scanned from a copy of the book in the possession of
James Bailey deRosset of Asheville, North Carolina, 2012
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
The Degree of Doctor of Medicine was then conferred by the Provost upon Samuel Powell
Griffith, M. B., Professor of Materia Medica in the College, and upon each of the candidates,
to whom the right hand of fellowship was afterwards publiekly given by each of the Medical
Professors. The business of the day was concluded with a sensible and pathetic address to the
Graduates, by the Provost of the College."
Dr. deRosset's Latin Thesis, published by the Faculty of the University,
was long preserved in the family, but cannot now be found. He had a remark-
ably retentive and accurate memory, and so mastered all his studies that the
knowledge once gained became fixed in his mind. In extreme old age he would
quote apt passages from classical authors, of whom Horace and Virgil were
his favorites, Copies of the Thesis were submitted to the Hon. Benjamin
Hawkins, then United States Senator from North Carolina, and to other men
of learning, eliciting commendatory replies.
Doubtless the young doctor was abundantly gratified by the distinctions he
had won, but he was not the man to rest content upon laurels already earned;
they only served as a stimulus to renewed energies and exertion. With charac-
teristic industry and determination he immediately entered upon the duties of
his profession at Wilmington in competition with such older physicians of
eminence as Drs. James Fergus, Nathaniel Hill and James Claypole, graduates
of Edinburgh, Scotland, and others of equal repute.
And so, equipped with the most advanced medical knowledge of that day, and
crowned with collegiate honors, in his twenty-third year, he began a successful
professional career, which continued in active service for 69 years, having prac-
tised in six generations of one family.
About that time, two young ladies from Charleston, the Misses Fullerton,
came to Wilmington to visit their uncle, Henry Toomer, the husband of the
doctor's sister, Magdalene M. deRosset. He soon fell a victim to the charms
of Mary, the older sister, and the attachment being mutual, they were married
in Charleston, October 6, 1791. Mary had a delicate constitution, and, after
having borne three daughters, who died in infancy, and a son, Moses John, who
survived her, she died of that dread disease, consumption, in November, 1797.
"As a wife, she was all that I could wish," writes her bereaved husband.
But, being only thirty years of age, he sorely felt the need of wifely love
and companionship, as well as of motherly care for his idolized son. Not
being able to reconcile it to his feelings to place a stranger over this beloved
child, after many scruples, on account of their relative situation, he resolved
to offer himself to Catherine Fullerton, sister of his first wife. She shared his
scruples, but, finally yielding to his urgent suit, they were married in Charleston
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
August 1, 1799. He had long known her many excellences of character, and
loved her with unfeigned affection, which she fully reciprocated, and proved
herself in all respects a blessed helpmeet.
His first married life was spent in his father's house on the northeast corner
of Second and Market streets, his mother, Mrs. Boyd, having taken up her
abode with her daughter, Mrs. Toomer; but, on becoming engaged to "Kitty"
Fullerton, he built for her reception the brick house still standing on the north-
west corner of Third and Market. Unsightly it seems to our modern ideas of
elegance, being built flush with the streets, according to the ugly custom of that
day. But it was then a handsome home, and substantial enough to last for
generations. And withal a house so full of precious memories, so hallowed by
faintly lives and holy deaths, so blessed with the atmosphere of love and
Christ-like benvolence, that we may well weep that it has now passed into the
possession of strangers.
"The soul of the old house is forever gone. It had been the guardian of its
inner life, but is now only the keeper of the family ghost."
The Fullcrton sisters were daughters of John Fullerton and Elizabeth
Toomer, his wife. Mr. Fullerton was a Scotchman, a Hume by birth, nephew
of David Hume, the famous philosopher and historian. When very young his
name was changed by due process of law to that of a maternal uncle, an old
bachelor, who begged to adopt him, give him his own name and make him his
heir. The old gentleman, however, married in his old age, and when a son of
his own appeared, young Fullcrton, then about seventeen, gave up the hope of
his inheritance and left home to seek his fortunes in a new land. That his Uncle
David held him in great regard and affection was abundantly shown by a
constant correspondence with his "beloved nephew" during his life time. Many
of these letters were long preserved in the family ; the last one, much pasted
and stitched for preservation, was, by request, loaned to a historical society in
Charleston that wished to obtain an autography of David Hume, and, to my
grandfather's lasting regret, was never recovered.
' Young Fullerton must have exhibited qualities commanding the esteem of
his adopted countrymen, and gained the friendship of families of high social
standing. Being without means and having a mechanical turn, he adopted the
cabinet maker's trade, and did excellent work in that line.
Fully identified with his new home, as the Revolutionary War drew near, he
proved himself an ardent patriot and was one of the committee of thirteen
mechanics, who, with a like number each of planters and merchants, met at the
Liberty Tree in 1766 to devise means for furthering the cause of American
Mrs. Elizabeth Toomer Fullerton
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
independence (see McCrady's History, Vol. II., pp. 59 and 651). (This
tree was destroyed by the British during Sir Henry Clinton's occupation of
Charleston, as having been the "hot bed of rebellion") These men succeeded
m carrying the "Non-Importation Acts," and formulated an agreement for
co-operation m patriotic measures. m% ^^
Mr. Fullertoirgie^eforeTnVTreyofutron '(or we would doubtless have heard M^^Jv^-
of him ,n military service), leaving three daughters and one son, Joshua ^\££ - f >7 M
Toomer, who died unmarried early in the war, of disease contracted in the *W ' uT^S ILL
service. The daughters were • T, " cT^' Stit*4
1. Ehzabeth (Mrs. Joseph Righton, of Charleston).^ *£££fj£ "^lZ^TT ?
2. Mary (Mrs. A. J. deRosset, of Wilmington), d 1W. ^tX^f^^
J! C f at + i ; erine <f° MrS " A - J - deRo ^), b. 1771, d. 1857 (named for her S*^**^^
aunt, Catherine Hume, sister of the historian). aj^ y^TW^rft^
Elizabeth Fullerton, their mother (1736-18.1), was a woman of uncommon ^Z ff^t^
intellect and literary attainments, and after the war, for the support and W *fU
education of her daughters, she opened a school for young ladies in Charleston.
Ihus the three Sls ters enjoyed advantages of education and culture beyond
those oi many gentlewomen of their day.
Mrs. Fullerton has an honorable place in the Revolutionary Historical
Re cord, of South Carohna as "prominent among the women of Charleston in
sustaining and encouraging the fainting, sorrowing spirit, of the trying times
of the siege and occupation of the British army."
She died in Charleston, at Mrs. Righton's home, and is interred in the
Circular churchyard. Her tomb has this inscription ■
"Sacred to the Memory of Mrs. Elizabeth Fullerton, who ended thif mortal
life m the sure and certain hope of a glorious immortality, on the 21st day of
AugUSt ' 1881 » ,»e*l 8 ^s. and 10 mos. h /_. JL- 7
Jb**M,«, Erected as .l&ffiSf rf the filial aftd^fct^ng daughters "
The Fullertons were rigid Presbyterians. Their father was a man of
strong reh gI ous feeling and faith which his Uncle David-an unbeliever
himself-so much respected that none of his frequent letters manifested any
desire to influence the nephew to adopt his principles.
But Dr. deRosset's loyal adherence to the Established Church of England
allowed no difference of opinion on such a vital point; and his wife lived and
died, with her husband, a member of St. James' Church, Wilmington
Her hands were full of domestic and maternal cares and nobly did she fulfill
her varied duties. Bringing up her children in the fear and admonition of the
Lord, and looking well to the ways of her household, truly did the heart of her
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
husband safely trust in her, and "her children rise up and call her blessed." It
seems as though the last chapter of Proverbs might be taken as a memorial
The increasing cares of a growing family did not lessen the claims of hos-
pitality or social enjoyment. Guests were entertained constantly and lavishly;
society's demands were met cordially. However simple and innocent the
customary amusements may appear to our advanced ideas, they were neverthe-
less thoroughly enjoyed. Friends would drop in with their sewing (there were
no "machines" then) to spend the day in congenial company and friendly chat.
The pleasures of the evening were enhanced by the universal love of music.
Instruments were rare, but with voices tuned in sweet accord, the girls would
sing the dear melodies of "lang syne," and the deep basses and the tenors of
their beaux added rich charm to chorus and refrain. Dress was modest and
simple ; and early hours for retiring were insisted on by the elders.
Grandpa was too busy a man to give much time to gayeties, for which,
indeed, he had no taste. His one diversion was the "Nine-penny Whist Club,"
an organization of twelve gentlemen which became famous for the wit and
humor of its members. It was not only for card playing, but for mutual enter-
tainment. Some of Its papers (1800-1805) still exist, and are curious
reminders of the manners and customs of the early days of the Nineteenth
Century. Mr. Robert Muter was the presiding officer, "Emperor," his title,
and the club met alternately at the houses of the members. After awhile the
meetings became too hilarious to suit the taste (or conscience?) of the more
moderate members, and it gradually lapsed into oblivion.
October 10, 1814, Dr. deRosset was commissioned by Governor Hawkins
surgeon of the Third Regiment of the North Carolina Militia, raised for the
protection of Wilmington and the surrounding country.
He was for many years port physician of Wilmington, and, brought into
contact so constantly with seafaring men, he had the greatest interest in their
welfare, bodily and spiritual, and they in return held him in affectionate esteem.
He was promoter of the Bible Society of Wilmington, formed in 1816, of
which he was at first Vice-president, and Mr. George Hooper, President ; but on
the resignation of Mr. Hooper the doctor became President. Among the
beneficiaries of this society it may well be believed that the mariners, of whom
he was the official physician, were remembered. His first annual report is
still extant, and exhibits a spirit of personal holiness and reverence for the Holy
Scriptures and of gratitude for God's mercies. It concludes with these words:
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSS ET FAMILY
"Let us with grateful hearts adore Him for His goodness to us who so
frequently and sinfully neglect to render Him the pleasant and easy tribute
of love, adoration and praise so justly His due. Let us fervently implore the
continuance of His favor and the invigorating aid of His Holy Spirit to help
us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling."
I cannot think there was ever a time when my grandfather was not at heart
an earnest Christian; and these devout expressions reveal the work of entire
consecration begun in him by the Holy Spirit.
St. James' Church, of which his ancestors were among the founders, was
often without a pastor. No Bishop had ever visited this region, and the
religious life of her children generally was at a low ebb. At the same time
intense loyalty and love for the dear old Church of their fathers and devotion
to her matchless Liturgy were not lacking in some of the parishioners of St.
James, who did their best to keep it alive by lay services and prayer meetings,
and lending to each other every book to be had on Church Doctrine and Personal
Religion. Among the debris at the old home were dozens of blank books filled
with extracts copied from the rare and valued religious works of the day.
Serious and solemn those books may seem to us, but they were highly prized
treasures to their pious readers. And certainly they were the fertilizing soil
that brought forth in them rich harvests of spiritual life, and grace, and
An anecdote of one of the prayer meetings has come down to us. It was held
at Judge Wright's house about 1815. Our dear grandpa and his saintly wife
were present. How rejoiced her prayerful heart must have been when he, for
the first time, knelt and took part openly in the services. Her joyful exclama-
tion, "He knelt, he knelt, did you seep" called forth the glad sympathy of
every pious heart in the assembly. From that time, there was never a backward
step in their religious life.
Denominational lines were not so distinctly marked then as now. "All who
love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity" were welcome to the services of all
the Churches. And when once there came a time that the flock of St. James was
without a shepherd, the Methodists held a great revival. The interest extended
to all Christians, and many of our people were "converted," generally, however,
maintaining their allegiance to their own Churches. There were three excep-
tions in our family, and, when a few years later, Bishop Moore, of Virginia,
made his famous visitation and confirmed nearly a hundred people, who had
long waited for that blessing, those three, grown very strong in their new faith,
refused to return, and lived long to be shining lights of Methodism. It should
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
be noted, however, that almost without exception the descendants of these
ladies are now devoted Episcopalians !
The religious life of the deRosset family made an enduring impress upon
the community. Duty to God and duty to neighbor went hand in hand.
Unceasing, systematic benevolence and charity bore witness to the motive power
of the former; while hundreds still live to testify to innumerable loving kind-
nesses extended to them and theirs.
"Family prayers"— nowadays so sadly fallen into disuse— were then a matter
of course. As soon would one neglect private devotions as those of the family
altar, conducted by the patriarch of the house. And woe to the belated child
who did not. get down in time!
The sanctity of the Lord's Day was rigidly enforced. Nobody thought of
staying away from Church; books of religious instruction only were allowed to
be read ; letters, even to absent members of the family, were forbidden. Two
Church services, with a sermon at each, and Sunday School, pretty well filled
every hour of the day. Indeed, the rigidness of the Puritan "Sabbath Laws"
strongly pervaded the devout spirit of the times. Let the conscience of each of
us of these times say if it were not more conducive to the glory of God and the
good of our own souls than the laxity and sacrilege now so prevalent. At any
rate, such "holy living" produced men and women of far higher, nobler
Christian character than one often sees nowadays, and ended at last in such
"holy dying" as would have delighted the heart of good old Jeremy Taylor.
When the deRossets emigrated to the Cape Fear prior to 1735 there was no
house of worship in the little hamlet of New Liverpool. St. James' Parish
embraced several counties that now appear on the map, and the need of
religious services was sadly apparent. Prominent among the promoters of the
Church building were Dr. A. J. deRosset L, and his sons, Moses J., I., and
Lewis H-, who, as King's Councillor, used his influence in its behalf. The first
St. James stood half way in the street, midway between Third and Fourth, the
sidewalk leading directly into the front entrance. It was twenty years or
more in process of erection, and during the Revolutionary War was occupied
as a stable for the British troopers, But this is apart from our subject.
The deRossets— father, sons and grandsons— have been from the first war-
dens, vestrymen, treasurers and lay readers of the Parish; delegates to the
Diocesan and General Conventions ; and generous contributors to the support
and maintenance of the Parish. Among the family papers is the autograph
appointment by Bishop Ravenscroft of three lay readers for St. James' Church
in 1827, namely: A. J. deRosset, William C. Lord and James Green. The
Residence of A. J. DeRosset, M.D., II
Market and Third Streets
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
first two named are my grandfathers; the last, a cousin and friend of both the
others, and brother of the late Bishop William M. Green, of Mississippi.
Of a kind and genial disposition, Dr. deRosset's home was the abode of hos-
pitality — which was, indeed, regarded as a religious duty, as well as a social
pleasure. Relatives and friends were always welcome, and sure of affectionate
and generous entertainment; and multitudes of strangers have lived to bless
the day when, if not "angel visitors" themselves, they were treated as such by
the Christian courtesy of a large-hearted, hospitable host. The "prophet's
chamber" was kept sacred to its proper use and rarely was unoccupied. Among
those whom I specially remember his entertaining were old Bishop Chase — whose
black skull cap was the first I had ever seen and which, therefore, made a lasting
impression — and Bishop Cobbs, of Alabama, whose little child died in my grand-
father's home, and was buried in his family vault in St. James' churchyard.
An instance of his hospitality is worthy of record, because of its lasting results.
In the summer of 1838 the steamer "Pulaski," bound from Savannah to New
York, was burned off the coast near Wilmington, with fearful loss of life.
Among the few passengers saved were Mr, G. B. Lamar, of Georgia, his sister
and one son. His wife and six other children perished. The survivors were
rescued after three days' exposure to a blazing sun, without food or water ; and,
in this pitiable condition, they were taken by Dr. deRosset to his home, where
for many weeks they were tenderly nursed by his daughters. A warm, life-long
friendship resulted; and when, a few years later, a second marriage brought a
son to Mr. Lamar, he was given the name of deRosset. The compliment was
returned by giving the Lamar name to a grandson of the doctor about the same
age. A beautiful silver tea service was a tangible token of affectionate grati-
tude from Mr. Lamar, and is now owned by his namesake, Armand Lamar
As master of his slaves, Dr. deRosset was merciful and indulgent, winning
the respect and affection of the large corps of well-trained servants, each one of
whom felt a personal interest in all domestic affairs, performing admirably his
or her appointed duty. They were taught the sanctity of the marriage bond.
Husband and wife, parent and child, were never separated. Their religious
instruction was faithfully carried on by their young mistresses, and so well did
they profit by it that after emancipation several of them became Methodist
ministers to congregations of their own race, but never failed to attribute
their success and usefulness to the teaching of "Miss Lizzie and Miss Mag."
The mutual affection thus established has in many instances been continued by
their descendants in these happy days of "freedom." I have old letters written
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
by some of the servants during and since the late war, which I think testify ^
the truth of my statements. The writer of some of them, Rev. W lham
Thu IZ, was for years a prominent minister to his race; and < « who
was my father's trusty man about the office, became the Re. James Telf axr
To Id much to buifd up the large congregation of St Stephen's colored
church of this city. Others of them were also trusted and valuable servants and
have done well for themselves and their families in later years.
Th law prohibited teaching slaves to read and write, being forced to do so on
account of the incendiary tracts, etc., sent out by Northern aborts
tIsc papers flooded the South, the very shoes that came out with plantation
supplied uTing stuffed with such documents. But the desire of the slaves for
learning, the house servants especially, was sometimes gratified, and many of
them attained some degree of education.
My grandfather was short in statue, being not over five feet, four inches
with lifht blue eyes and ruddy complexion; not handsome, though a bemgn
e ' -Jon lent a pleasing and attractive appearance to his countenance
Those who had seen the portrait of his French ancestor, Dr. Armand I., «»d
^llt^Tw^eafbut-never extreme in fashion, wearing always a full
wht ten stock, made and Kept spotless by the care of his devoted daugl^
The knee-breeches and buckles, the silk stockings and the queue of that period
were not discarded until his fiftieth birthday. He was the ast gentleman o h,
Z in this part of the country to conform to the more modern style of dress.
Hi habit! were methodical and rigidly adhered to. He rose at a very early
hovfr g ttmg out with his trusty walking stick before dawn, in tune to hear the
!2wb «J, "Five o'clock-all's well" as long as that custom continued,
kcenine his habit up, indeed, almost to the very last.
T nfp rate in all things, free from every vice, he knew not, except from
hearZ what "dissipation" meant. His daughter, Mrs. Kennedy, writes
"Bro^ht up in the times when the idea prevailed that malana could be
avertldonly by stimulants, he was habituated from early hfe to a dady 'dram
o7v y weak rum and water; but, finding that his example was cited by several
a an excuse for their indulgence, he laid it aside until, in old age, he was urged
bv his brother physicians to 'take a little wine for his stomach's sake,' and to
bracThis waning strength. And then it was usually blackberry, or other
S 1t:ttTerr^t he carried the inevitable snuff box of those day.
My grandfather had no political aspirations; nor did he covet d.stmctmn m
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
any shape save in the performance of every duty to the best of his ability
Nevertheless, he was a man of pnblic spirit, fully alive to the mtemt* rffti
community, and commanded by his integrity and force of character the Inghest
respect of his fellow-citizens. He was repeatedly made Justice of the Peace, a
hiaher honor then than now.
In 1822, he was elected director of the Bank of Cape Fear, and, until Ins
death, thirty-seven years later, was annually re-elected "There was no port
more important or more eagerly songht in this mercantile community. In he
discharge of its functions, Dr. deRosset was regular m attendance at the
sessions of the board; a faithful, fearless and independent officer; and rendered
the bank much valuable service." So writes Dr. Thus. H. Wnght, the president
of the bank at the time of grandpa's death.
He was a large subscriber to the first cotton factory estabhshe d , North
Carolina (The Rockfoh Company), holding shares to the amount of $10,000.
The dividends of this company and its products in goods were of immense value
to his heirs during the hard times of the Civil War. He was also a subscriber
to a like —I the stock of the first railroad in the State (The Wilmmg-
ton & Raleigh, later the Wilmington & Weldon, and now incorporated into the
Atlantic Coast Line System). Indeed, no public enterprise was inaugurated
that did not find in him a liberal supporter.
The doctor's practice was very large, extending through all the adjoining
counties. When I first recollect it, his "shop" was on the northwest corner of
Front and Market streets, and was reached by quite a flight of steps I well
recall a big silver Spanish dollar that was given me for bravely submitting to
the extraction of a jaw tooth by the great tongs-like iron pincers used m
dentistry of those times— for doctors were dentists then as well.
There were no drug stores until 1838. Up to that time every physician kept
his own supplies, including jujube paste, and peppermint drops and hquonce
root __ the "treats" of all good children. They compounded their own pre-
scriptions and furnished the needs of the public in that line
His visits were frequent and lengthy, his patients often twenty or thirty
miles distant (McRce says fifty or even sixty), but whether rich or poor far -or
near, his attention and skill were equally-often gratuitously-bestowed. His
u; i„ ^Tlorl tW "stick chair" Old "Spot" was the
mode of conveyance was a vehicle called the sticK cnan. vi y
mU ch petted and valued horse (he lived over twenty years), and Tommy was
the faithful negro groom and driver.
It was the custom of the proprietors of the great nee plantations along the
river to pay their physicians a stated yearly salary for attending their
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
families and slaves; but as these planters were notoriously impecunious, it
may well be supposed that the services rendered were generally largely in
excess of the payment received— one, two or three hundred dollars, as the case
might be. The long dreary rides over Mt. Misery sand hills, or across the
two ferries and the swamps of Eagles' Island, were, indeed, poorly compensated.
Nevertheless, the doctor prospered financially and "by industry and assiduity,
he soon won the esteem of the public, and obtained a share of patronage second
only to that of Dr. Nat Hill." His patients were soothed by sympathy and
tenderness which, especially towards the female sufferer, were almost feminine.
MOSES JOHN beROSSET, M. D., II.
Son of Dr. A. J. deRossett II. by His First Wife, Mary Fullerton.
b. February 11, 1796— d. July 1, 1826.
Educated at the classical school of Rev. Mr. Bingham (the elder), in Hills-
borough, he matriculated at Chapel Hill in 1814, Dr. Caldwell, his father's old
Princeton friend, being then President. Graduating in 1816, he went to the
New York Medical College, and also attended a special course of lectures under
the celebrated Dr. Physick. Receiving his degree in 1820, he joined his father,
under the firm name of deRosset & Son, in the practice of medicine, in Wilming-
ton He was an enthusiastic practitioner, and his successful treatment of
yellow fever during the epidemic of 1821 won for him a high reputation in his
profession. He was much interested in the study of climatic influence upon
disease, and kindred branches of science, especially meteorology, and for years
kept a regular record of weather conditions, which still exists.
In February, 1826, he was married to Sarah E. Waddell, daughter of Mr.
John Waddell; but she, with his other loved ones, was soon called to mourn his
untimely end. At the age of thirty, July 1, 1826, he was called away, and
his poor father's fondest hopes were crushed. Amiable, affectionate and gener-
ous in his nature, and of strictly honorable principles, he won the love and
respect of all who knew him. In the prime of life, in the midst of usefulness,
and with the brightest prospects of professional distinction and of domestic
happiness, the comfort and stay of his devoted father, his death was a sore
His wife long survived him, but never married, and died in 18W.
The family hopes thus centered in the only remaining son, my father, Dr.
Armand John deRosset, Jr., who, in 1824, at the early age of sixteen years
ANNALS OF THE D E ROSS ET FAMILY
and eight months, had graduated at the North Carolina University and was at
this time pursuing his medical studies.
Already the health of my grandmother, "sweet Kitty Fullerton," had begun
to fail, and for nearly twenty years she was a constant sufferer from a painful,
I was but seven years old when she died, and remember her only as an invalid,
sitting on a low chair before a table, on which always lay a large open Bible ;
patient, cheerful, full of love and sympathy for all ; comforting the sorrowful ;
stimulating the timid and wavering with loving counsel and wise precept; and
by beautiful example guiding others, as she herself stepped Heavenward.
Later, as her disease progressed and confined her to bed, it was my pride and
delight to please her by repeating the Sunday texts, and telling all I could
remember of Dr. Drane's sermons. Then, sitting on the edge of her bed, I
would say my catechism, collect and hymn, and get my reward in a loving kiss
of approval. There must have been some wonderful charm about her to have
impressed these childhood's incidents upon my mind as among the enduring
blessed memories of my life.
Grandma's mother, Mrs. Fullerton, used to make long visits to Wilmington,
though her home was with her daughter, Mrs. Righton, in Charleston. Some
family letters regarding her last illness and death are extant, and give a vivid
illustration of the awful realities of death and eternity as conceived by earnest
Christian people of that period. Mrs. Fullerton was not only dearly loved by
her daughters, but they ardently admired her.
Kitty (Mrs. deRosset) was something of an artist and when quite young she
painted in oil a portrait of her mother. Finding herself successful in that
effort, she undertook a picture of herself, seated in front of a mirror, with her
eyes coyly turned in that direction.
On March 9, 1837, the saintly wife, the long-suffering, tenderly loved mother,
was called to the presence of the King of kings, to whose service she had been
so loyal, so faithful, so loving and true ! The picture of her, as she lay in her
burial robes upon the bed whereon for so many years she had patiently suffered,
is indelibly printed on my memory. Watching through my own blinding tears
the kneeling figures of her best beloved ones — husband, daughters and son — ■
weeping for their loss, but sorrowing not as those without hope, for they knew
she was among the blessed who are "accepted in the Beloved." For her
"Death's but another life. We bow our heads
At going out, we think; but enter straight
Another golden chamber of the King,
Larger than this we leave, and lovelier."
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
Nor was it only her family who mourned her loss. The sorrow was universal
at home and abroad; for .herever her friends and acquaintances nng"
mfluence was w.dely felt; and she was dearly beloved by all of Jry degree.
Her clnldren never spoke of her but with tones hushed and reverent, 1 of one
too sacred for common speech.
Peace, eternal peace be hers!
fathrJ 11 ^ ^ J\. dM « h J™ ^ the ^nder guardians of their beloved
houtholT 1 TTI C °f ° rtS and haPphieSS > C ° nducti ^ the °**™ of the
household, and followmg m all respects the blessed example of her who had gone
A sad bereavement befell us on March 4, 1850, in the death of dear "Aunt
Mag the devoted pracfccal, energetic, unselfish, helpful daughter of the
thaTf * VT *T? tW ° m ° nthS bef ° re ^ marriage ' and in P^P-ation for
that event she had been as deeply interested as a second mother, and such a cloud
of sorrow could but cast a heavy shadow upon the brightness of that happy
event When my httle daughter came (the first of her generation as I was of
cTh T T" IT I en ° Ugh f ° r her but that ° f n V second mot her, and we
called her Magdalene deRosset. Five years after she sped on angel wings to
find the beloved unknown auntie in God's Paradise on high'
Perhaps no woman of the community could have been so sadly missed. She
was so full of lovmg S y m pathy and helpfulness in joy or sorrow; so unselfish-
o pure un heart. But God took her to His Home, and we of the earthly home
thank H lm upon every remembrance of her! She died of what now would be
called appendmitis; zts treatment was then unknown.
Her dying request was that a portion of the inheritance which would have
been hers might be gl ven «In Memoriam" to Church extension, and grandpa
!ZZT^. lot for the erection of st - John ' s Ch ^ •«* - "*■*
Upon Aunt Lijzie devolved the care of the outdoor poor, including the
were b 7 fH\ , ^ "" *** ^ h " ^ ^ a « d ** inLte.
Zt bo"! SPintUal mmiStrati0nS ^ "" " * h - ™" »»* °<
A distressing accident, resulting in the dislocation and breaking of the hip-
bone Wed her sphere of active charity, but patiently submitting to the
Father s wdl there was .till much she could do for the glory of God. Always
unselfish and uncomplaining, her daily „ a lk and conversation was in itself a
blessmg to all around her. Partially recovering from her injury, but lame
Breakfast Urn of the deRosset Family
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
forever, after she lived for many years leaning upon the everlasting arms of
mercy and love, and at last in her eighty-seventh year, fell asleep and went to
Paradise, October 10th, 1888.
Grandpa's oldest daughter, Catherine (one of the three converts to Metho-
dism mentioned above), married Rev. William Kennedy, of the North Carolina
Conference in December, 1834, and after her mother's death, in 1837, she, being
then a widow and having the care of her youngest step-daughter, Catharine
Kennedy, aged seven years, returned to Wilmington and made her home ever
after with her father. She was a woman of deep piety, and her life was full of
charity and good works. She was President of the Benevolent Society of Wil-
mington and founder of the Old Ladies' Home, which, since her death, perpetu-
ates her benefaction under the name of the "Catherine Kennedy Home for
Her temperament was artistic and very skilfully she wielded the artist's pen
and brush, using her talent for the pleasure or benefit of friends and neighbors.
She also had a goodly share of the poetic gift of the family, as the following
lines of a fragment of blank verse, found in her desk, will manifest :
"A sad remembrance comes of years long past;
The friends of childhood one by one seem near;
I hear their voices — meet them as they pass,
And join the merry throng.
Forgetful that the hand of Time
Will touch each gleeful one of that gay crowd,
And leave at last but one lone remnant of the little band
To weep as friend, and friend again, is called
From joys of Earth to mingle with the dead.
One goes in early youth— another waits
Till hoary hairs are seen; and weary steps
That sought from week to week the House of God,
Led to the truth at length, not gloriously, but bright
With blessed Hope of Immortality. My friends
Whom I have loved on Earth I trust to meet
In that blest Home for faithful ones prepared,
Where nevermore shall sorrow darken bliss,
Nor pain, nor sickness, nor farewell shall come."
Having outlived all her contemporaries, on Christmas Eve, 1889, Mrs. Ken-
nedy entered into her eternal rest, in the ninetieth year of her age, beloved and
lamented by thousands of all classes, whose lives had been blessed by her pious
The Angel of Death had, long before these times of sorrow, called the beloved
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
father home. Passing peacefully into the serenity of beautiful old age, he
entered into rest April 1st, 1859, in the ninety-second year of his age.
Requiescat in Pace.
At the annual meeting of the Medical Society of North Carolina, May, 1859,
a biographical sketch of Dr. deRosset, "an honorary member of the society,"
was presented, after which a resolution was adopted, from which I extract the
"Resolved: That in the exalted character of the deceased in all the relations of life, and
in his long and ardent attachment to the profession of medicine, he has left us, individually,
a bright example for our imitation, and to this Society, as one of its oldest and most esteemed
Honorary Members, the memory of a character venerable in age and full of honor."
Extract from the Records of the New Hanover County Medical Society.
"Present: Dr. J as. H. Dickson, President; and Drs. Anderson, Thomas, McRee, Wright,
Cutlar, Beery, Potter, and Medway.
Committee, appointed to prepare resolutions relative to the death of Dr, A. J. deRosset,
reported through Dr. J. H. Dickson, the following, which are adopted unanimously:
Whereas: It has pleased the All-wise Disposer of Events to call from this transitory life, at
the very advanced age of ninety-one years, our venerable and highly esteemed professional
friend and "confrere"— Dr. Armand J. deRosset, Senior, we esteem it a duty, as well as
a melancholy privilege, to place upon record, an united testimonial of our exalted appreciation
of his character, both as a man and as a physician.
Though by many years the senior of those engaged in the active duties of the medical
profession; there are 'some among us, who have had the advantage of profiting in consultation,
by the skill and large experience of this Nestor of our profession, now no more among the
living; and, who have had the opportunity of observing the calm wisdom of his intellect, and
the uniform kindness and courtesy of his manner, which, indeed, seemed to ripen with
After finishing his collegiate course at Princeton, A. J. deRosset became a pupil of the
celebrated Dr. Rush, of Philadelphia, and was one of the earliest graduates of the Medical
College of the City.
He had thus availed himself of the best means, which the time and the country afforded, to
prepare himself for the arduous and important duties of his professional life.
Commencing his profession in the last decade of the last century, he continued in the active
performance of his duties, until a few years past, when the growing pressure of years rendered
him physically incompetent for its labors, while his intellect preserved its integrity to the close
of his life.
For several months past, it became painfully apparent to his friends that his strength was
failing, and that the close of his earthly career was near at hand.
Of "this no one was better assured than himself, and it was consolatory to observe the calm
and resignation with which he contemplated the approach of dissolution— not the calmness of
the Stoic, but the peaceful, serene resignation of the Christian; for our venerable friend
was of the highest type of man— the Christian Gentleman.
During his life he was an honor to the medical profession of the State, and after having
served several generations faithfully and acted his part worthily upon earth, he has at length
been gathered to his fathers, full of years and full of honors,
Mrs. Mo sely Ashley Curtis
(Mary Jane DeRosset)
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
The bound of man's appointed years, at last
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labor done,
Serenely to his final rest, has past;
While the soft memory of his virtues yet
Lingers like twilight hues when the bright
Sun is set.*
He has both in his life and in his death, left us an example worthy of our imitation.
His professional attainments were of a high order, and no doubt contributed to the eleva-
tion of the professional character in our State; while his sterling qualities as a man and a
Christian reflect their additional lustre upon it.
Let it be our aim, by the practice of like virtues, to elevate ourselves, our profession and
Resolved: That, while we condole with his surviving relations in the bereavement which
they have sustained, we rejoice with them at the bright legacy which has been left them of a
noble character erected on a basis of spotless integrity and a well spent life.
The Secretary was directed to send the family of the deceased a copy of the above; and,
also to furnish copies to the local Press and to the N. C, Medical Journal.
Jas, H. DiCKSOif, Prest.
F. W, Potter, Secty,"
MARY JANE (deROSSET) CURTIS.
April 10, 1818— July 81, 1903.
The Youngest of Dr. deRosset's Children and the Last Survivor of Her
She married December 3, 1834, the Rev. Moses Ashley Curtis, D. D. (1808-
1872), for thirty-seven years an honored Priest of the Diocese of North
Her character was one of singular purity and loveliness. The law of love
was in her heart and governed her life; from a perennial fountain of unselfish
thoughtfulness for others, she poured out treasures of helpfulness, sympathy
and consolation for the needy, the .suffering, the sorrowful. Intelligent and
cultivated, courteous and genial, her companionship was a joy and delight to old
and young alike. Her influence for good was unbounded, and her very presence
was a benediction to all who come within its sphere.
In full sympathy with the intellectual and scientific pursuits of her learned
and accomplished husband, she gave all the time she could spare from the cares
of a large family to share the enjoyment of his library and literary work.
Her life was burdened with many cares and chastened by many sorrows, yet
always her handmaidens, Faith, Hope and Charity, would lead her out of the
cloud into the sunshine of God's love to find comfort and peace. Her large-
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
hearted charity, aided by a systematic habit of tithing, enabled her to contribute
to many worthy benevolent objects which otherwise her limited resources could
not have afforded.
In later years the infirmities of age kept her mostly confined to the house,
but her faculties were unimpaired, and she continued busy with her household
occupations to the very last. More and more she became the idol of her home ;
and as the evening shadows gathered, her loved ones combined to make the golden
sunset brighter by their tender ministrations. Her birthdays were looked for-
ward to with keen anticipation of joyful family reunion, and towards the last
they became veritable love-feasts. Family and friends vied with each other to do
honor and give happiness to the loved ones. Tokens of affectionate remembrance
came from far and near ; garlands of flowers converted the rooms into bowers of
beauty and filled them with fragrance. The great birthday cake with its eighty-
odd candles shed radiant light upon the scene. Sweet music, vocal and
instrumental, lent its charm, and with the rest her voice joined in hymns of
praise and thanksgiving, or in the sweet melodies of the olden time, or the rich
harmonies of Handel's grand choruses, which she dearly loved.
Endowed with many and varied gifts, every child of the family would bring
its special talent into requisition for the "Little Granny's" pleasure — love tokens
of their own dainty needle, pen or pencil, and sometimes a love poem. One of
these, "A Birthday Greeting," ran thus :
A Birthday Greeting.
What shall I wish thee for the coming year?
Twelve months of dream-like ease? No care? No pain?
Bright spring — calm summer — autumn without rain
Of bitter tears? Would'st have it thus, my friend?
What lessons then were learnt at the year's end?
What shall I wish thee then? God knoweth well
If I could have my way, no shade of woe
Should ever dim thy sunshine — but I know
Strong courage is not learnt in happy sleep,
Nor patience sweet by eyes that never weep.
Ah, would my wishes were of more avail
To keep thee from the many jars of life!
Still, let me wish the Courage for the strife —
The Happiness that comes of work well done —
And afterwards the Peace of victory won. "Little Min."
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
Another tribute was "A Study in Color:"
My Sweetheart— A Study in Color.
"The color of your eyes? How can I tell?
The color where the sweetest looks can dwell.
Your eyes are heaven, and therefore must be blue,
The tender color of my love for you,
The color of your cheek? How answer this?
The color that the sweetest is to kiss.
That feels like apple-blossoms, sweet and light,
It must be, like those blossoms, pink and white.
The color of your lips? How shall I say?
The color where the brightest smiles can stay.
Where tender curves and dimples sweet and red—
A color soft and warm— it must be red.
The color of your hair? How shall I know?
'Tis far more bright than any sunbeam's glow.
Its meshes hold my heart-strings throbbing weight.
It must be silver, for the bands are bright." M. B -
With characteristic modesty, she shrank from adulation, yet she would
graciously accept the homage of their loving devotion and express her grateful
At last the strife of life was o'er, and one summer night she fell asleep in Jesus.
Angels bore her ransomed soul to the "Land of Pure Delight," where her husband
and five of her children, who had gone before, were waiting at Heaven's gate to
give her glad welcome. These were: William White, Arinand deRosset, John
Henry, Magdalene and Caroline.
Her surviving children are:
1. Ashley Curtis, b. April 29, 1842, m. Mary K. Nash, April 29, 1873.
2. Rev. Charles Jared Curtis, b. November 5, 1848, m. Margaret Iglehart.
3 and 4. Catherine Fullerton and Elizabeth deRosset, unmarried.
5. Mary Louise ("Minna"), widow of Rev. Wm. S. Bynum, b. 1850.
Rev. W. A. Curtis, D. D. (b. in Stockbridge, Mass., in 1808, d. in Hillsboro,
~N. C, 1872), was of the best Puritan stock of Massachusetts. Son of Rev.
Jared' Curtis and Thankful Ashley, daughter of General Ashley, of Revolu-
tionary fame. He was a graduate of Williams College. His father removed to
Charlestown, Mass., where he was for many years chaplain to the State's Prison.
His son connected himself with the Church of the Advent, Boston, under the min-
istry of Rev. Wm. Croswell. In October, 1830, he removed to Wilmington,
N. C, as tutor in the family of Governor E. B. Dudley. He returned to Boston
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
in 1833, to pursue his studies for the ministry and, returning to Wilmington the
following year, was ordained Deacon by Bishop Moore, of Virginia, in 1835.
At once he entered on Deacon's work, as a pioneer Missionary in the mountains
of North Carolina — his wife making many rough journeys with him in that
rough region. For about two years he was headmaster of the Diocesan School
for Boys in Raleigh, and during that time was advanced to the Priesthood. In
1841 he became Rector of St. Matthew's Church, Hillsboro, N. C, where almost
the whole of his ministerial life was spent, and where he died.
Though a Massachusetts man and opposed to secession, he was an ardent
Southerner in his feelings and two of his sons were in the Confederate Army — one
of whom, John Henry, was killed by a sharpshooter just at the close of the war.
No sketch of Dr. Curtis' life work would be complete without noticing the
international fame he attained as a scientist, and especially as a botanist. These
scientific pursuits were continued throughout his life. He became associated per-
sonally and by constant correspondence and exchange of specimens with many
of the leading botanists and was recognized as one of the world's famous
scientists. Some of his important works, among them "Edible Fungi," illus-
trated in color by himself, were never published, but after his death Harvard
University came into the possession of much of his collection, as did Smithsonian
Another gift of this many-sided man was that of music. To a high order of
talent he added a fine voice in singing, and an unusual degree of cultivation in
performing and of skill in composition. None of his works has ever been pub-
lished, but a beautiful anthem, "How Beautiful Upon the Mountains," is well
known by those who loved him. It was composed by himself for his own ordina-
tion. Other musical composition would be well worthy of note, in anthem, hymn
and chant form.
Dr. Curtis' enthusiastic interest in the founding of the University of the
South, Sewanee, Tenn., must be placed on record. He was on the original Board
of Trustees and one of the Committee on Location. When the Committee
reached the superb spot on the mountain top where now stands the great Univer-
sity group of buildings, it was Dr. Curtis who, under the temple canopy of the
grand forest trees, started the Gloria in Excelsis, in which all present joined
with glad and thankful hearts.
Armand John DeRosset, M.D., III
ARMAND JOHN deROSSET, M. D., III.
1807— Dec. 9, 1897.
"His be the praise, who looking down with scorn
On the false judgment of the partial hand,
Consults his own clear heart, and boldly dares
To be— not to be thought— an honest man."
de^ ?m day m 7f ng ' DeCmber 9 ' 1897 ' the soul of Dr " Ann^td John
deRouet III passed from its earthly tabernacle to the rest that remaineth for
he people of God He was the only surviving- son of the father whose honied
name he bore, and d,ed m the house where he was born, over ninety years before
H„ hfe spanned the cycle of the Nineteenth Century from ita j£ to its Z
decade, and through all those years of mortal life he walked among his fellow-
men "weanng the white flower of a blameless life," the highest type of Nature's
nobleman— a Christian gentleman. matures
Reared in such a home as has been described in the sketch of his father's life
and paded by the mfluence and example of his pious parents, it is not surp i nl'
that he grew up a model of every manly virtue. Under the thorough instruction
and stnct daphne of the teachers of those days, his education^ advanTd "
Zfci ;"i V; Pring ° f T' " hk f ° Urteenth ^ he « *e Soph -
J" S£££ Tf V' N °u rth Car ° liDa and " graduat6d - *** stand-
ing, with the degree of A. B., m the class of 1824, at the age of ,S±een years
and elg ht months. Men of his day long remembered "the extraordfnTrv
ma nculatton of this little lad of remarkable intellectual gifts" whocame o
college ln charge of a faithful servant, and was known to h£ f ehowiuZ by
the sobnquet of "Little Breeches." For many years he w*< ,!• T ?
of his alma mater. J J ^ ^ Sem ° r alumnus
"illlTi^ ^ t0 a u° Pt " militarj Career ' but his father «PP«ed it and he
finely drifted" mto the traditional medical profession of the family In the
c h °t tHf ^ t0 ° k hiS "^ C ° UrSe at ^ S ° Uth "* College" f ml
me, but the following year, attracted by the superior clinical advantages of a
larger crty, he went to the University of Pennsylvania, where, in 1828, "ffter an
exammation wbch occupied only twenty-five minutes in the dreaded green room
he easily obtained bs degree of M. D. at the same institution where his father
ANNALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
had graduated nearly forty years before." The surgical branch of medical
science interested him greatly, but the daily routine of country and city practise
was distasteful, and, notwithstanding the urgent appeals of patients, friends and
citizens, he determined to abandon the profession.
Turning his attention to mercantile pursuits, in 1839 he entered into a part-
nership with Mr. J. P. Brown in the establishment of a general commission
business, of which he was the head in Wilmington. His broad intelligence and
sound judgment, his high sense of truth and honor and absolute integrity won
the trust and confidence of business men at home and abroad, and gave to the
firm such extensive patronage that it soon became recognized as one of the
prominent commercial houses of the country. His word was his bond. At a
time of commercial depression, when property might have been legally retained
by the compromise of debt, his high ideals of personal honor and rectitude were
supremely manifested ; but mens conscia recti was far more precious to him than
the possession of any amount of property could be, and in the evening of his
days his beautiful home, with other valuable properties, was sacrificed and the
debts were paid.
Reduced in circumstances, with no vain regrets for the affluence he had
enjoyed for over three score years and ten, he accepted the position of clerk in
an insurance office, without loss of self-respect or honor with the community,
working for the support of himself and those dependent on him. This wonderful
rebound of energy — this spirit of independence — this uncomplaining acceptance
of adversity— I regard as the crowning glory of my father's character, the
joyous sunset hues brightening the close of a well spent life. As a citizen,
Dr. deRosset's public spirit kept him alive to the interests of his State in pro-
moting internal improvements for the development of her vast resources. He
was promoter, stockholder and director in many public enterprises ; one of the
first subscribers to the stock of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, and for
fifty-five years on its Board of Directors. An extract from his "Reminiscenses"
may be aptly quoted in this connection. Written when he was well advanced in
years, at the solicitation of his children, he tells the story of his missions to
England in the interests of that railroad :
"Among the incidents of my life, to which I look back with pleasure and some
degree of pride, is the successful negotiation which I made in 1849, as the chosen
agent of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Company, of $520,000 of its bonds
in England, in exchange for iron rails for the track of the road, which had been
previously made of wooden scantling with strap iron spiked on, all the way, 162
miles, from Wilmington to Weldon.
ANNALS OF THE DEKOSSET FAMILY
I was one of the original subscribers to the stock of the company, and am now,
I believe, the only surviving one, and have been a member of the Board of Direc-
tors almost from its first organization. The road was completed in 1837 ; had
done and was doing a large business, with the prospect of very large increase
from the construction of the North Carolina Road and the Wilmington & Man-
chester Road, which were about to be constructed. But a few years before, I
was called upon to undertake the negotiation above referred to ; after experience
of twelve years, the conclusion had been arrived at that without an iron track the
company never could be successful. Its property was mortgaged to the State,
to which it owed six or seven hundred thousand dollars, and its credit at home
had fallen so low that the principal merchant of Wilmington, Mr. Alexander
Anderson, had refused to fill an order for one dozen shovels to clear up the
rubbish of a burnt building in the company's yard.
Finding it impossible to conduct the business of the company under such cir-
cumstances, the directors applied to the Legislature, in 1847 or 1848, for an
endorsement by the State of the company's bonds for the purpose of purchasing
iron rails. The members were generally very favorably inclined towards the
company, but fearing that it would not be a popular measure to involve the State
by the proposed endorsement, they declined to do so and offered, as an alternative,
to waive the State's mortgage on the property of the road and so give the
company a clean title upon which the necessary credit could be based for the
security of the debt to be contracted for the purchase of iron rails.
Feeling, as I did, great confidence in the future success of the road with an iron
track, and with the prospect, of largely increased business to result from the
completion of the new works above mentioned, I consented to accept the mission to
which I was called, and after satisfying myself that nothing could be done in
this country, either by a sale of the bonds to capitalists or by treating with manu-
facturers by taking them in payment for rails, I sailed for Liverpool in the
Cunard steamer "America" in May, 1849.
I soon found that a sale of the bonds could not be affected in England to
any of the large capitalists, and was advised by Messrs. Geo. Pcabody & Co. to
confine my efforts to direct negotiation with iron manufacturers for the purchase
of rails, to be paid for with the bonds which I had in charge. At first success
seemed very doubtful and I feared that I should have to return home without
accomplishing anything ; but, after persevering for a time, I made the acquaint-
ance of a Mr. Radcliffe, managing partner of the great house of Bailey Brothers,
of Liverpool, and succeeded in convincing him that my views as to the future
success of the company were well founded, and that the transaction proposed
A X X A LS OF THE DE ROSS E T F A MILY
would be safe and profitable to his firm. He agreed to furnish the rails we
wanted at a price somewhat above the cash market value, to pay the freight and
duties, and deliver them at Wilmington, but on condition that he must first consult
and receive the sanction of his senior partner before concluding so large and
important a transaction. He was very confident that the trade would be con-
firmed by the Messrs. Bailey and, in fact, did have the consent of one of them
residing in Liverpool. The senior brother, being a Member of Parliament,
then in session in London, Mr. RadclifFe went there for consultation with him,
and appointed a day to give me a final answer at Morley's Hotel.
When the day arrived, I was appalled, upon meeting Mr. RadclifFe, to hear
that, without looking into the statement and arguments I had submitted fully
in writing, Mr. Bailey positively vetoed the transaction, and that he could do
nothing further in the matter.
He seemed much disappointed and mortified, and then for the first time
informed me that "The Coalbrookdale & Ebbvale Company" was to have taken
half the contract in case of its having been made. He gave me a note of intro-
duction to his friend, Mr. Robinson, secretary of the company, and hoped I
might succeed in negotiating with them.
Mr. Robinson had consented to take half the contract without any knowledge
of the facts, simply relying on his confidence in Mr. RadclifFe. At Mr. Robin-
son's request, I went over the whole case with him, and left my written papers
to be submitted to his company.
After full discussion and consideration, the company agreed that they would
take half the contract, on condition that I could get some other manufacturer to
take the other half, and with the important modification that the rails should be
delivered "free on board" at some English or Welsh port, the purchasing com-
pany to provide for the freight and duties.
This at first seemed to be an impossible condition, but, after much difficulty, I
succeeded in inducing Mr. Sampson Ricardo, an Italian merchant of London, to
take the other half ; and the contracts were closed.
Shipments were promptly commenced, and my mission, so happily concluded,
proved to be a turning point in the history of the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad,
which soon began to pay dividends to the stockholders, and its prosperity has
continued, with some interruptions, until now it is one of the most valuable and
powerful corporations in the South.
During the war it became a most valuable channel for the transportation of
troops and supplies for the Confederacy ; but before the close its track and roll-
ing stock were almost entirely destroyed, and, finally, was held by the United
Eliza J. Lord, 1819—1876
Wife of Dr. A.J. DeRosset 3rd
AXXALS OF THE DE ROSSET FAMILY
States Government as a military road until the fall of 1865, when it was given
up to the company, almost a complete wreck. The company's bonds, issued in
1849, were then within four years of maturity. A number of the coupons which
became due during the war remained unpaid, and there were no funds to provide
for them, or for the large amount required for repairs and for the re-equipment
of the road.
I was again called upon by the company to visit England for the purpose of
making a new loan to provide for these urgent needs, and to arrange with the
bondholders for the extension for fifteen years of the time of the maturity of
I accepted the mission, and sailed from New York in the Cunard steamship
"Australian" early in October, 1865, with my wife and our son, Frederick, then
nine years old. And after succeeding in accomplishing all the objects and wishes
of the company, and placing their finances in as comfortable a condition as could
be desired, we returned in the same steamship, reaching home safely in
I ought to add that I made no charge and received no compensation from the
company for my services on either of the missions which I so successfully accom-
plished, and which were so essential for the promotion of its prospeirty."
It is not my purpose to write a biography of my father. Others more capable
have done that so recently, so fully, so lovingly, that it would be superfluous for
me to attempt it. Rather would I recall him in the sacred privacy of his
domestic circle as husband, father, friend.
At the age of twenty-one and a half years, May 1$, 1829, he brought to his
father's house a young wife, just seventeen, Eliza Jean'Lord, daughter of Wil-
liam C, and Eliza (Hill) Lord — life-long friends and neighbors of the family.
To use his own words, their "union was blessed with as perfect happiness as
can be enjoyed in this life for forty-seven years."
The families of Lord and Hill were among the earliest settlers of the Cape
Fear section and resided at Brunswick until the inhabitants of that town were
compelled, for greater security during the Revolutionary War, to abandon it
and remove to Wilmington, fifteen miles further up the river. Here their
descendants to the present day have been among the most respected and honored
citizens — as are also their many relatives in other States. Both families are of
English ancestry and of the best New England stock. William Hill (1734-
1783), a graduate of Harvard University, in the class of 1754, emigrated to
Cape Fear in 1756, and married in 1757 Margaret Moore, of the distinguished
family of that name who founded the Cape Fear colony, in 1723. The tomb
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
of this estimable couple is in good preservation in the old burial ground of St.
Philip's Church, and bears, in part, this inscription ;
"Here lye deposited the remains of the Honble Win. Hill, aged 47, and his
wife, Margaret Moore, aged 84. He was possessed of every virtue that adorns
the Man. She of all that could endear the Wife, or cause the Mother to be
revered and loved. They lived eminently respected and esteemed and so lamented
In the same churchyard lie the remains of William Lord, founder of the North
Carolina branch of this family, with his wife, Margaret Espey, and many of
their descendants. His great-grandson, William C. Lord, 1793-1847, and his
wife, Eliza Hill, 1794-1875, granddaughter of the above William and Margaret
Hill, were the parents of my mother, Eliza J. Lord deRosset.
Our beautiful home, hallowed by the daily Morning Sacrifice of Prayer and
Thanksgiving, was the abode of refinement and culture where all that could
offend good taste was banished and innocent amusement and pleasure encouraged.
It was noted for its elegant entertainments, its lavish hospitality, its innumerable
acts of loving kindness to friends, and charity to the needy. Leaders in the
social world, happy in each other and in their children and large circle of
friends, our parents were blessed with all that earthly hearts could desire or
Christian hope look forward to.
My father was not a poet, but he often indulged in versification ; he was wont
to send notes and telegrams of sympathy or congratulation in rhyme, which
brought forth similar responses and afforded much innocent enjoyment. Among
his cherished treasures is a "Book of Remembrance," containing hundreds of
tributes penned by those who loved him — sometimes quotations, but often
original. I do not scruple to appropriate one of these as a specimen of the
sentiment that pervaded them all:
"Reverent and -tender and true! Let me see,
What more can I say of my dear love for thee,
My father, my friend and my guide all these years.
Most precious thou art to thy daughter —
Some of his fugitive poems have the true poetic ring, and I cannot refrain
from transcribing here, as worthy of preservation, his paraphrase of
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
The Lord's Prayer.
Our Father in Heaven, to Thee we pray
That Thy great name may hallowed be,
Thy Kingdom come. Oh! haste the day
When all the world shall bow to Thee,
When Thy blest will shall have full sway
And earth, like Heaven, from sin be free.
Sustain, O Lord! our bodies frail.
Preserve our souls with Bread of Life,
Forgive our sins. Let us not fail
Our foes to bless, and keep from strife.
Whene'er the tempter's wiles assail,
Do Thou be near and keep us pure.
May Thy good Spirit never fail
To be our Guide forevermore.
Glory and Power to Thee belong.
In Thy dread Presence we appear
Only in name of Christ, Thy Son,
Who taught us thus to make our prayer.
September 18, 1889.
Conspicuous for loyal devotion to the Church, where were centered his holiest
affections, it was from Her sacred teachings that came the inspiration of all that
was noblest and best in his character and in his daily life. And it was from
her appreciation of his true worth that came the honors he valued above all
others. He was Warden, Vestryman, Deputy to Diocesan and General Councils,
Treasurer of the Diocese, Chairman of the Committees on Canons and on the
State of the Church. In short, he held every ecclesiastical position that could
be filled by a layman. His most intimate and beloved friends were his Bishops
and Priests. Well versed in Church History and Canon Law, he was an
authority on all such subjects. Lavishly generous to every demand for Church
extension and improvement, his beneficence was manifested in various ways.
An instance of it was a gift to the Parish immediately after the Civil War of an
entire block of city lots, whereon was a spacious building for a "Church Home"
for all the parochial charities. This work was opened in 1870, and after
twenty years of successful operation, the building having been destroyed by fire,
it was removed to another part of the city and developed into the Mission Chapel
of the Good Shepherd, with its various organizations for religious and charitable
ANNALS OF THE DEROSSET FAMILY
A page from the records of St. James' Parish:
ARMAND JOHN DeROSSET, M. D.
Bobh October 6th, 1807,
Died December 9th, 1897.
A devoted Communicant of the Church for 65 years.
Delegate to the Diocesan Conventions of 1832, 1838, 1847,
1850, 1852, 1855 to 1897.
Deputy to the General Council of the Confederate States
Deputy to the General Convention for 30 years, 1867-1897.
Treasurer of the Diocese of North Carolina from 1870 to
1883; of East Carolina, 1883 to July 24th, 1896.
Member of the Standing Committee of North Carolina, 1876-
1882; of East Carolina, 1883-1896; and of the Committee on
Canons of East Carolina, 1883-1896.
"Full of Faith and Good Works."
And not only for Christ and His Church were his services rendered. His
country, in her hour of dire need, had no more loyal son than he. Six of his
sons were given to the Confederate service ; one, Edward L., a lad of seventeen,
"only a private," was among the earliest victims of that cruel war. Two were
wounded nigh unto death, Col. W. L. and Capt. A. L. ; and only a few years
later four of them had passed away and lay sleeping at Oakdale with the little
sister, who, in 1855, was the first solitary occupant of that city of the dead.
My father was the principal promoter of that Cemetery Company, took the
greatest interest in it, was its first President, for many years, and his youngest
daughter, "little Annie," was the first person buried there, in February, 1855.
Of his three sons-in-law in the service, one, Col. Gaston Meares, of the Third
North Carolina Infantry, fell at the head of his regiment on the bloody field of
Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862.
Mrs. deRosset was a woman of rare executive ability throughout the war, was
President of the Soldiers' Aid Society of Wilmington, ministering continually
with wonderful energy and untiring activity to the comfort of the soldiers, in
field and hospital. She was prominent among the organizers of the Ladies'
Memorial Association of Wilmington, afterwards merged into the North Carolina
Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
October S3, 1876, the great calamity of his life fell upon my father, in the
sudden death of his beloved wife. They were together, attending the Centennial
Celebration of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, when the stroke
St. James Church
The Seven Sons of Dr. and Mrs. A.J. DeRosset
Edward S. , Moses John, Armand L., Frederick Ancrum, William L.,
Louis H. and Thomas C.
./ ,V N Al.S OF THE DEROSSET F A M 1 1. Y
came. Grief-stricken by the bereavement, yet mourning not as one without
hope of a blessed reunion, he took up again the burden of life with characteristic
fort.tude and submission to God's will. His age was then near three score and
ten ; but there was still much to be done before that burden could be laid down,
and God gave him strength and grace to bring forth yet more abundantly the
fruit of good works to the glory of His name. His pure life and holy example
seemed to be felt by the community as a blessed influence for good. All sorts
and conditions of men felt his presence as a benediction. None ever heard from
his lips a profane or unclean word, and it was said "no act or word unbecoming
a gentleman could be done or spoken in Dr. deRosset's presence."
Truly we have reason to rise up and call him blessed, and to thank God upon
every remembrance of him and our noble mother.
They had issue:
1. Catherine Douglass, h. May 31, 1830, m. Col. Gaston Meares.
2. William Lord, b. October 27, 1832 m * 1 Caroline H ' Nelson
' l 2 Elizabeth S. Nash
3. Eliza Hill ("Lossie"), b. December 23, 1831, m. Opt. Chas. D. Myers
4. Alice London, b. June 15, 183«, d. September 2, 1897, m. Major Graham Daves
5. Moses John, b. July 4, mgrU May 1, 1881, m. Adelaide Meares.
6. Louis Henry, b. April 11, 1840, d. November 11, 187.5, ni. \ 1 Mar!a T ' Fi,lle 5"
- 4 . , ) 2 Jane D. Cowan
I. Armand Lamar, b. January 28, 1842, m. Tallulah E. Low.
8. Edward Swift, b. February 12, 1844, d. December 30, 1861, in Confederate service
9. Ihomas Chdds, b. September 1, 1845, m. Louise W. Hatton.
10. Annie, b. April 5, 1848, d. February 5, 1855. ' ? ■
II. Frederic Ancrum, b. April $ 1856, m^Mary wj^feljn^- ^i^J. ffJ^cL^, -&*^„6i_ Teo^H-Sfc <£c, .-.
The year after my mother's death (November 15, 1877) he was again married, r* «-** -
to Catherine M. Kennedy, step-daughter of his widowed sister. She had been
closely associated with our family from childhood, and dearly loved by us all
Unsurpassed in all the gentle and affectionate qualities that can adorn a woman
for seventeen years she cheered his loneliness as none other could have done'
blessing his declining years by tender devotion and loving care. But again he
was smitten by the Father's rod when (March 3, 1894) she was taken away just
at the beginning of the malady which three years later removed him from earthly
Loss of fortune and his beautiful home in 1882 had compelled his removal to
his father's old home, now his own by inheritance. There the last years of his
life were spent, comforted by the loving service of his surviving children and the
scarcely less affectionate attentions of faithful colored servants and friends
His last, few weeks were greatly comforted by the presence and spiritual ministry
of his beloved son, the Rev. Frederick A. deRosset.
Page Eight y-X'me
ANNALS OF THE DEKOSSET FAMILY
Yet again the sunset of life was shadowed by a great grief. After a long
illness, his beloved daughter, Alice London, wife of Maj. Graham Daves, died,
September 3, 1897. Altogether lovely in every relation of life, possessed of rare
intellectual gifts and personal charm, she was admired and dearly loved by all
who knew her. "The light of loyal service to the King shone through her life
and lit up other lives with the bright fire of love." Her loss left in our hearts
an aching void which Heaven alone can fill. Christian faith and resignation
sustained her stricken father, who looked ever more and more longingly for the
blessed reunion he felt was very near.
At last, when the golden sheaf was fully ripe, the summons came. "Called
like a watchworn weary sentinel to put his armor off," he fell asleep December
9, 1897. His mortal remains lie at the foot of his Cross in beautiful Oakdale,
while his redeemed soul in the "Church at Rest" waits in joyful hope the Day of
Resurrection and the eternal joys of the Church Triumphant.
"We give Thee hearty thanks, O Heavenly Father, for the good example of
these Thy servants, who, having finished their course through Faith, do now
rest from their labors."
My Annals of the deRossets end as the Nineteenth Century draws to its close.
I can find for their conclusion no words more appropriate than those of one of
the hymns sung at the beautifully impressive burial service of my father, the last
living Dr. deRosset :
"The Saints of God! Their conflicts past,
And life's long battle won at last.
No more they need the shield or sword,
They cast them down before their Lord.
O happy Saints! forever blest,
At Jesus' feet, how sweet your rest !
The Saints of God ! Their vigil keep
While yet their mortal bodies sleep,
Till from the dust they too shall rise
And soar triumphant to the skies,
O Saints! Rejoice and sing,
He quickly comes, your Lord and King.
Dr. Armand J. DeRosset and his three surviving sons
Captain Armand L., Col. William L.,
and the Reverend Frederick Ancrum
" Twere better to be meanly born and good
Than one unworthy of his noble Wood;
Though all thy walls shine with thy pedigree
Yet virtue only makes nobility.
Then that thy pedigree may useful be,
Seek out the virtues of thy family,
And to be worthy of thy father's name,
Search out the good they did — and do the same."
Oh, sons and daughters of the deRosset line, our ancestors have devised to us an
imperial crown — a crown of uprightness, truth and honor. May God help us
always to guard and keep our shield unstained. Let us each, like Shakespeare's
kingly hero, swear, "The whole world's strength put into one giant arm shall
never force this lineal honor from me,"
CHirHCH OF THE REDEEMER,
Tim lSi^imp'^ Chdhih
Rosset or Ross>>ti.(Lul / G^J^ff^ J ^*^^
An old family of nobility in the Waat (Waadt) and such territory of Barn
which formerly belonged to the Savoyan duchy Chablais, and out of which
Johannes in the year 1462 and his son Suy or Guido in the jr«ar 1528 were Sin-
dies of Lausanne, and this latter was also in 1536 one of the twelve delegates
sent to Bern, to act in behalf of the free surrender; his son Johannes was in
the year 1588, Burgomeister of the City of Lausanne and his son Benjamin lord
of Vufflens la Villi received the Borne position in the year 1617, gave it up -*-
voluntarily in 1629 in behalf of a friend , but in 1634 he was reelected!
son Johannes Philip was In the year 1673 Burgomeister, and held the
l° r 4ship of Vufflens la vine of Echandens and RoehTort: his son diid you::j
a h |^ Johanu Ludovicus his heir who was lord of Echandens of the Venner^'of
the 6*^fce of Lausanne, anxLii; the year 1755 <U<u:- Marcus Benjamin of Roche-
fort from the year 1736 H^fc. minister of the itl&e of Lausanne, ant 1 Dei.; of
the clas* of Lausanne and ih the year 1754 died: l7 and David Rosset of Vernana
also in his 83d year held the position of a eoimaaiader of a land-r
itter Vernans of Johannes Ludovicus the sou Ferdinand was lord of Echen-
dens and Rochefort of the minister and Dean Marcus Benjaminthe sons were Anto
nius Emanuel in the year 1725 Doctor of Medicine at Basel and had a dissorta*-
on Si«?ht published in qtojand was also mtfrffirr - of Lausanne and Johannej
Alphonsus who continued his studies for some time which he un in Ls n
Ive town in the house and under the supervision of his Godfather the ren
ned Professor Johannes Alp] •. v. ratin of 0enT?7 a hiia in the year
1701 received the sassi stantship of the church ; in the year 1743 became bfip/i
rofessor of the Oriental languages and in the year 1 748 was'
tive professor of Theology in the Academy of Latisanne, and i > 1750, 175 i. ti
I 5 ' 2 ^pS^i r r " ,ctor< Prow this family also was Petrus Antonius Ludovi
casRathKeTF " T~ G ha^ce - l i rnrj and <i k amborlalii of tho treusur^Vof Lausanne and
landlord of Vernans.
Notes from Reverend Frederick Ancrum DeRosset, undated, taped as
the last page of this copy of the Annals